A little piece of everything

The days are still hot, but it is September and the nights are cool and the babies and the love and I all sleep soundly.

Wrapped under blankets of their choosing – a thrift-store, Disney-princess sleeping bag for her and a Target Home velour-like throw for him – they sleep in what Grandpa thought she called a wood shop. I can only imagine the image in his mind. Stacks of logs and sawdust and machines and my babies asleep in the middle of a dirt floor.

Reality involves a workshop that housed sewing machines and books and an old trunk with someone named “Raber”‘s nomenclature on the front. The trunk and the books are still there. So is an old refrigerator with our food now inside and the kids’ beds – their real beds – and their clothes and our cat and the boy’s rock collection and the girl’s plastic kitchen and pretend food (from which, this morning, she made me vanilla soup).

Outside, around back, my love and I fantasize about someday being grown-ups old enough to travel the country for a living. We talk about recording an album in the travel trailer that looks like it should be a miniature keychain on someone’s keyring (my keyring). We lay on the lofted bed and read or work or answer kids’ calls. We drape arms around each other to help us (me) fall asleep. We split the covers; he takes the sheet because a rock star can’t sleep when he’s hot, I use the old quilt soft as my babies’ skin.

I look out the window at the tree in the yard of the $60,000 foreclosed home we thought for a day we wanted. A light shines at night. Outside, the black cats yowl, chasing and pawing each other with their hind legs. When it rains, we smell it through the screen windows, which are always open.

Last week, I dreamed about homes. My yellow house in Dundee was someone else’s (is someone else’s), but I was back, in the dream. Visiting. They’d added on, giving it the space I always wished it’d had. They showed me the work. In one room was all my old stuff I’d left behind. Funny, it wasn’t anything I wanted.

In real life, we have an almost home, here in our new town. We signed papers. We paid for inspections and appraisals and earnest monies and that sort of thing. I asked old employers for W-2s I hadn’t kept. My love even called the IRS for old documents he needed.

We made plans. In my head, I redid the upstairs bathroom. I painted the wainscoting on my daughter’s bedroom walls white, and I debated between lavender or yellow on the top half. I decided to look for an antique lighting fixture for above the dining room table. I’d begun refinishing the 1900 original hardwood floor. I’d decided to buy a new comforter for our bed. I’d searched Pottery Barn online for curtains for the kids.

But the almost home didn’t appraise for the purchase price, which means unless we come up with $22,000 cash in the next three weeks (which is not even a possibility in my imaginary world) or the appraisal is overturned (for which we’ve asked), we’ll stay in the workshop and the travel trailer for … well, I have no idea how long.

And … it’s OK. Because home is where your babies sleep, where your love makes you laugh first thing in the morning, where your heart feels happy.

Home is where you are, where you were, a little piece of everything that’s you and yours.

The pretty yellow house

When I got to be a grown-up, I started thinking about things like houses and decorating them and what kind of floors they should have.

Wood floors was my answer, and it took me three houses to get them.

The light blonde wood floors of my new house are my favorite (though I can’t seem to keep them clean!). The painted-white trim around the baseboards, the windows and the ceiling are my second favorite.

The green-walled bedrooms upstairs are my third favorite.

And the master bathroom with the white wainscoting halfway up the walls and the white pedestal sink and the subway tile in the shower? My fourth.

The yellow walls? My fifth.

The house is sort of perfect for me.

But we’re moving out and that’s cool. It’s just a house.

Today, I’m going to rearrange some furniture, bring up a bright yellow flower picture from the basement and see what I can do about all those leaves outside (What? Rake them? Ohhhh…).

And I’m going to pull up a little nostalgia while I work. Ninth grade, anybody?

(Before they sold out. At least skip ahead to “Thunder Road.” Worth it).